The Dos and Dont's of Establishing Your Online Credibility
All the world's a digital masquerade, and all the men and women merely players. In this hyper-connected technological era, we live behind our screens and turn up the brag-o-meter. We are so pressured to show how busy and fulfilled our lives are that Instagram influencers have usurped movie stars and models to become the new celebrities.
The question then becomes, is this new “it” factor achieved by hiding the truth about what we really do and who we really are? Perhaps, but if we want to establish a sustainable online presence, we need to do so with authenticity at the forefront.
Keep reading to learn how you can authentically reflect your best self to achieve success on your career journey.
Showcase Your Skills
Do: Highlight What Sets You Apart
You may be wondering, if authenticity is key, then how could you stand out amongst everyone else's exaggerations? We get it - it can be difficult to hone in on unique accomplishments when millions of people boast similar, if not superior, feats.
Our advice: take a deep breath and dive deep into yourself. Spend some time to self-reflect and focus on the skills you do possess and your true passions and goals. Dig up old volunteer certificates, memorabilia from conferences - think about why you chose to take part in these experiences, and how they shaped who you are today. Ask yourself: What can you do? What are you here to accomplish? How would you be an asset to hiring companies and potential connections in ways others cannot?
Being realistic on your profile also helps set accurate expectations for your network. This eliminates the possibility of misunderstandings and unrealistic benchmarks that won't be met.
The Ideal LinkedIn Profile
One of the most useful tools you can make use of is LinkedIn. Doug Leong, our Associate Director of MBA Careers, has put together his best tips on how to sharpen up your profile:
Create an SEO-optimized profile (authentic, relevant, and compelling)
Describe your work experience - write in first person, use key words, and tell your story
Include a professional headshot
Join and follow groups and associations to read and share insights
Don't: Oversell Yourself.
The rise of the Internet, namely social media, has brought us an abundance of available information from a multitude of sources. This has also led to an increase in the number of accessible tools, such as LinkedIn, that we can utilize to create inauthentic and misleading information at the click of a button. It's no surprise, then, that employers believe 80% of LinkedIn users lie or exaggerate on their profiles.
You want the first page of your Google search results to be a long list of accomplishments, each one different from the other. And if tweaking details here and there may be what is needed to stand out, well, then why not?
Deception in social networks can lead to negative effects on the cohesion of social interactions as well as on your individual mental well-being - hence, stay away from falsifying your online persona.
Moreover, recruiters will also check the facts. Potential employers are very likely to call your references and ask them anything from the work you completed as an employee to your potential fit for the new position. 75% of HR managers have caught a lie on a resume - you don't want to be part of that percentage. Resist the temptation to exaggerate anything you wouldn't be able to back up when asked about it in a face-to-face interview!
Manage Your Digital Value
Do: Audit the Content You Create
All across the Internet, people are constantly creating and publishing inspirational, promotional, and educational content. Amongst the buzzwords and hashtags, it can be difficult to find a personal branding strategy that effectively represents you and your thoughts without embellishments.
Focus is key here - choose to share information on topics you are familiar with and care about. Going in depth on these means that you will be showing authentic enthusiasm and wisdom, therefore drawing like-minded people who want to share insights with and learn from you.
2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and it is up to Internet users to determine which parts of that data are worth their time. There is a difference between having a few key jobs from the last couple of years on your LinkedIn, and listing your entire job history from 2005 onwards. Keep in mind that tailoring your information to your goals will get you closer to your desired audience. It's okay to place more emphasis on experience that is more relevant, whether in terms of time or the industry you are hoping to get into.
Don’t: Share Information Haphazardly
Keep in mind that your activity on the Internet is not confidential. Believe it or not, hiring managers and colleagues probably Google you! Social media makes information about you easily accessible, which can be both a positive and negative.
Comb through your profiles to audit what's on there. Try to put out information that will be beneficial in landing you a job and/or paint you in a positive, professional light rather than incriminate you.
To further emphasize our point, a 2018 CareerBuilder study on hiring practices pulled the following results:
70% of employers research job applicants on social media sites.
48% of employers check up on their current employees' social media.
34% of employers have reprimanded or fired an employee based on their social media.
Additionally, refrain from sharing anything unnecessary. Your personal information is valuable - anything from your SIN to your credit card number to your medical records can be sold on the dark web for as little as $1. This is why it's imperative to be cautious of who you share your information with, whether it is a LinkedIn contact or an online retailer.
If you strive to be authentic in putting your best digital foot forward, it can pay off by netting you meaningful connections and promising opportunities throughout your career journey. Remember, your activity on the Internet is always visible, so be cautious and tactful in what you do!
We hope these tips will help you present yourself in a genuine and appealing way wherever you are on your career path. For more support, book an appointment with your Career Advisor today or check out resources and events on Beedie Community!